Who threw the sabot in the social enterprise machine ?

I had an interesting briefing with ActionBase recently and we touched on the “Social BPM” scene and process discovery. Initially I had suggested that their ActionMail solution could be used as a process discovery mechanism, tracking ad-hoc processes and how they work via email and Jakub, CTO of ActionBase came out with an interesting statement: as soon as you start observing something or someone the behaviour will change.

Jakub quoted the Hawthorne Effect, ‘whereby subjects improve an aspect of their behavior being experimentally measured simply in response to the fact that they are being studied.’

So could this also be true of using social/ collaborative techniques ?

For example, if we used a collaborative platform and invited more participants into the process  and improvement forum would we face a situation that because of the open nature people could start to react differently and for the wrong reasons ? Resistors to change could in effect throw in more misinformation because now they have the means to whereas before they may not have been involved in the discovery process.

I firmly believe that social software and Enterprise 2.0 has the means to rip apart an organisation on a technical and cultural level (for the good) but it’s new territory and has a lot of potential to go the other way too and so whilst we are all getting carried away with the buzz and promise let’s still be mindful that there are many more pitfalls and hurdles to overcome and consider fully before we rush and buy our first solutions.


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